January 15th is marked as the National Army Day. Here’s a look at the extraordinary history of the Indian National Army.
The tales of the sacrifice and courage of the Indian National Army makes our chests swell with pride and eyes a little moist. They beat the cold and heat so you and I can sleep at night in peace. The stories of their bravery and valour should not be remembered only on one day, but they should always be cherished in our hearts forever. Life in the armed forces is as distinguished as it can be. When they are protecting our country’s borders at a temperature of -50 degree Celsius at 16000 feet above sea level at the Siachen glacier or battling the temperature of 50 degrees in the blistering heat of Rajasthan, they are not doing it for themselves but for their country and its citizens.
Thousands of soldiers have given up their lives while protecting our land. Each and every one of them deserves our utmost respect. Listing every act of their bravery will be one of the most humongous tasks, but this January 15th let us reminisce few of the countless milestones our soldiers have achieved.
1. The war of 1967: Fighting Chinese aggression and defending Sikkim.
Nathu La Incident: Infiltration was a common strategy deployed by the Chinese Army to instigate India, and thus, the Indian Army decided to fence the border. As soon as the fencing work commenced, the Chinese Commissioner came to the Indian side and asked them to abrogate it. The Commissioner left after a heated argument. And then just after a few minutes, Chinese troops indulged in a heavy gunfire. Contemplating China’s aggression, Indian side opened fire too. The effective firing resulted in damage to Chinese bunkers, and the death toll was over 400, resulting in China’s defeat.
Cho La Incident: China couldn’t accept their defeat at Nathu La incident, and they planned an unparalleled attack again at Cho La pass. China lost its 40 elite commandos. The end of the battle witnessed China leaving Sikkim once and for all. Two brave officers – Capt. Dagar and Major Harbhajan Singh met a gallant death.
2. Annexation of Goa, against the Portuguese Republic in 1961
When India gained independence in 1947, Goa remained under the control of Portuguese. The 1961 Indian annexation of Goa under the demand of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru government was an action by India’s armed forces that ended Portuguese rule in its Indian enclaves. The operation involved land, sea, and air strikes for over 36 hours, and was a decisive victory for India, ending 451 years of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.
3. The valour of the Sikh Regiment in the Indo-Pak war 1965 and 1971
Before the ceasefire was called by the United Nations and then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indian Army, with the Sikh Regiment at its forefront, had managed to cut across territories in Pakistan reaching the outskirts of Lahore in 1965 war. While the major conflict zone of the 1971 war was around East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh), the Indian Army opened another front on the western border to keep Pakistan occupied.
This was again where our legendary Sikh Regiments fought Pakistan at the western front, ensuring that Bangladesh manages to attain independence. The film Border was based on the Longewala Post fight in which just 120 soldiers of the Sikh Regiment fought valiantly, under the leadership of General Kuldip Singh, against the Pakistani tanks for one whole night until the Indian Air Force finally put a stop to Pakistan’s attack on the western front in the morning.
4. Kargil Heroes
“If death strikes before I prove my blood, I swear I will kill death.”
These were the words of Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey. During the 1999 Kargil war, he led his troop to capture the Jubar top where he was wounded by bullets on the leg and shoulder. As a part of Operation Vijay, he cleared the enemy positions amidst heavy shooting. Bravely striking the first enemy position, he killed two enemies and throttled the second position by killing two more. Unfortunately, the bullets injured his shoulder and legs. Undaunted, he continued to lead the assault. At the end, a bullet penetrated his forehead. His daredevil act led to the capture of Khalubar.
Captain Vikram Batra, an officer of the Indian Army, was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious military award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. He is celebrated for the capture of Point 5140, at an altitude of 17,000 feet, which was under the illegal possession of the Pakistani soldiers. Despite being fired at by heavy machine guns, Captain Batra and his men managed to destroy two 2 machine gun posts. He died rescuing an injured officer while leading his men to on a successful assault on Point 4875.
The acts of valour by the men in uniform are not wholly encompassed by this article. We, as a nation, are forever indebted to their sacrifice. We salute our gallant soldiers and their esteemed contributions to for our motherland. Jai Hind!
Image Credits: Youth Connect